Google Mobile Web Principles

google.gifGoogle has a useful new article on the Principles of Mobile Site Design. It’s based on Google/Answerlab research into how a range of users interacted with a diverse group of mobile sites. It covers homepage & site navigation, site search, commerce, form entry and usability.



However, before you go about all of this I recommend you take a step back because this presupposes you need a web site. Would users rather just use your desktop site? Might an app be better? Alternatively, consider a web app for discovery and an app for engagement.

Apps vs Internet

orange.gifOrange has some new free Orange Exposure research conducted by TNS that concentrates on the path to purchase across the UK, France and Spain. It concludes that 4G networks are igniting uptake in m-commerce, showrooming is on the rise and Android’s dominance over iOS is continuing (also with a leap in tablet market share).


An interesting insight for mobile developers is that people are increasingly using apps to access the internet rather than the traditional browser. I suspect this means that there are opportunities for brands/companies/developers to create apps that present web site data in more innovative and easier to use ways as opposed to just within a webview in the app.

Mobile Web Templates and Guidelines

nokia.gifNokia have just announced that they have updated their mobile web templates that I first mentioned May last year.

The templates allow mobile web sites to be easily created that have a generic mobile look and feel. They can also be embedded in apps (read into a HTML control) but I wouldn’t recommend doing so as the look and feel won’t be much like a native app. The latest templates (v2) have been restructured for easier customisation.

While you are on Forum Nokia, also take a look at their Javascript Performance Best Practices that are also useful for anyone (not just Nokia related) using HTML5/Ajax/Javascript.

I still think there’s a general nieve belief that because authoring simple HTML is easy and readable on all platforms, it will become the de facto standard for mobile development. In practice, the templates show that there are issues with the UI. There are problems with browser fragmentation. The Nokia Javascript best practices also demonstrate coding can be tricky.

In 2007 I mentioned that we were missing the phone feature APIs needed to create HTML apps. This is still true today. As I mentioned later in that article, I believe that even when (maybe I should now say ‘if’) they become available, the complexity/differences of the APIs will percolate up to HTML to make development as difficult as native.

However, I am now starting to believe that it might be possible that future development tools will be able to abstract away some of these UI, Javascript and fragmentation complexities. It’s an opportunity for someone.

HTML5 Detection

modernizr.gifIf you are creating mobile web sites (as many people increasing are) then you might like to take a look at Modernizr. It’s a Javascript library that allows you to easily detect if particular HTML5 feature exists or not.

If you wish to do the detection yourself you might also like to take a look at the quick reference at

Now that Apple is foregoing Flash and championing HTML5, I believe the latter will take on even more significance for mobile. This doesn’t change the fact that I (and others) think that Apple might have made a mistake. No Flash on the iPhone is understandable. No Flash on a ‘full’ screen device such as the iPad is likely to disappoint end users.

Also, it’s far too easy now for Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Palm or any other OS to include Flash in a tablet and to try to improve on the iPad experience.